The choices you make in life affect the environment. And so do the choices you make about death. For example, a traditional burial involves embalming chemicals that can seep into the ground. And cremation requires a lot of energy. So some people are now turning to a process that’s been called “flameless cremation.”

Cattoni: “The process is very similar to what the body intended us to do originally when we pass away, and that’s just to break itself down.”

Ryan Cattoni of Aquagreen Dispositions in Illinois says a warm alkaline solution is used to break down the remains.

Cattoni: “We have a special machine the loved one is placed in, and the solution just gently circulates over the body.”

What’s left is a powder that families can receive in an urn, like after a traditional cremation.

Cattoni: “So you achieve the same end result. There’s just no two-thousand-degree heat. There’s no smokestacks. There’s no fossil fuels being burned. There’s nothing released into the atmosphere.”

”Some Click To Tweet

He says that some families also find flameless cremation more comforting.

Cattoni: “Water, we depend on it to live. It’s a little bit easier to cope with.”

The process is new to the funeral industry, but as interest grows, more states are passing legislation to make it a legal, environmentally-friendly option.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...